Saturday, May 5, 2007

Empathetic Leadership


The technology-driven world promised us faster and easier communications. The reality is that communication and listening skills have not improved over the last years.

Our attention span is down to an MTV cut or, even worse, 'point & click'. All of us have been caight in this fairy tale of "Speed is King". Speed is now often more important than quality. In some cases, quality equals speed.

Because we're so focused on speed, we often don't take the time to slow down and listen. Each and every organization needs to consider intelligent and deep discussions as a core competency. This will guarantee strong relationships between people and allow for a free flow of ideas.

How do we define good conversations? You know when you experience one: You feel stimulated, engaged, alive. Unfortunately, most of our conversations at work are just painful, go nowhere and don't have their own life.

So, how can we have good conversations?

No phone calls, no blackberry time.
No agenda. Or, if there has to be one, it should be open.
Thoughts and Ideas should not be judged.
Everyone is equal. No top-down leadership.
Forget strategies, let spontaneity happen.
Emotional and empathetic.

Too often we do focus on processes or the lack thereof when try to improve the overall efficiency and profitability of our organizations.
Instead, we should try to have a real conversation for a change.

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